North Carolina Upgrades 911 System


The state of North Carolina announced it recently upgraded its 911 system, helping to ensure that everyone in North Carolina can quickly access emergency services.

The N.C. 911 Board, a division of the N.C. Department of Information Technology (NCDIT), completed a years-long effort to modernize the system. The new system replaces the previous decades-old analog system with a managed internet protocol-based network.

“We now have the redundancy and resiliency to ensure 911 calls are handled as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Jim Weaver, NCDIT secretary and state chief information officer, who also chairs the N.C. 911 Board. “This is a tremendous achievement for the people of North Carolina and would not have been accomplished without close collaboration among the board, the state’s PSAPs, and our vendor partners.”

All 125 public safety answering points (PSAPs) that receive funding from the N.C. 911 Board are now part of the Next Generation 911 (NG911) network.

NG911 allows for the secure routing of digital information – such as landline calls, cell phone calls, and text messages – to the appropriate PSAP based on location. It also provides high-speed data network connections, allowing every PSAP to serve as a backup for others in case of a natural disaster or a call overload.

North Carolina first began its transition to NG911 in November 2018, “when Durham 911 became the first PSAP in the nation to join AT&T ESInet, utilizing a hosted call solution and text messaging,” according to the press release.

North Carolina implemented a Network Monitoring and Assistance Center (NMAC) in 2019, making it the only state in the country to do so. This center allows for the continuous monitoring of the service and performance of the network across the state.

As part of the transition to NG911, the N.C. 911 Board has also worked with its partners to develop a statewide geodatabase, which provides a caller’s exact location.

“NextGen 911 really is NowGen 911 for North Carolina,” said L.V. Pokey Harris, executive director of the N.C. 911 Board. “This network not only better supports callers, but also gives our telecommunicators and emergency responders the data-rich information they need to effectively do their jobs and ultimately save lives throughout our state.”

“AT&T is committed to improving the safety of the communities we serve by evolving 9-1-1 call centers across the country with AT&T ESInet,” added Matt Walsh, assistant vice president of FirstNet and NextGen 9-1-1 Products at AT&T. “This is a crucial milestone for public safety in North Carolina – and it’s only the beginning. With the latest technology, North Carolina can continue to help call takers do their jobs more efficiently and provide top-notch emergency response for the community.”